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'Delacata' Push into the Premium Market

US - The US catfish industry is pinning its hopes on a new, premium catfish fillet, that could increase consumer interest and help the struggling industry out of decline.

According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette those attending the state's 2008 Catfish Farmers convention, believe 'delacata', a new, deep-skinned fillet, will open opportunities in the high-value, higher-priced market. The product is aimed at the 'white-table cloth' restaurants where entrees retail at US$20, rather than the usual US$9 for a catfish dish.

“We think that this could be the most significant thing to happen to the industry ever,” said Jack Garner, president of The Ramey Agency LLC, a Mississippi-based advertising and public-relations firm that has been working on delacata for three years.

Ready to Roll

The Catfish Institute, an industry trade group based in Jackson, Mississippi, and Viking Range Corporation of a Greenwood that manufactures commercial-grade appliances has worked with Ramey on the fillet.

The delacata standards should be ready later this month, when the Catfish Farmers of America holds its annual convention in San Diego. Farmers and processors will then be able to sign up to produce delacata and help move the product rapidly into the marketplace.

Garner said that the idea was never to replace US farm-raised catfish or replace the species name. However, the industry did warrant some modernisation and creating a premium product that would not be a commodity and completely price-driven, was a means of adding value to the sector.

To read the full story click here.